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Object Name Fan
Date 1887
Description Folding fan. Chromolithographed paper leaf with scenes of bullfighting and a bust profile of a man identified as "RAFAEL GUERRA GUERRITA". Printed inscription on leaf, lower right: "'LAGARTIJO' DANDO LA ALTERNATIVA A GUERRITA / 29 DE SBRE 1887. MADRID." Printed inscription, lower left: "`GUERRITA' BANDERILLANDO." The printed design is accented with applied metallic glitter. Wood sticks with hand-painted gold design. One guardstick is inscribed "COSTUMBRES" and the other is inscribed "ESPANOLAS." Made in Spain for the tourist market.
(Keywords: Fashion, Accessory, European, Commemorative, Souvenir, Gilded Age)
Ownership and History This souvenir fan commemorates Rafael Guerra (1862-1941), a famous bullfighter from Cordoba, Spain. It marks his alternativa, the ceremony in which he graduated from a novillero (apprentice matador) to a professional matador. He is seen receiving the sword of veteran matador Rafael Molina, known as "Lagartijo."

Bullfighting has a long tradition in Spanish culture. These spectacles, which might be perceived as sport, performance art, or entertainment business, were sometimes attended by Americans traveling in Europe during the late nineteenth century. The idea that fans were special and a bit exotic, combined with their usefulness as cooling devices, made them ideal souvenirs of trips or major events.
Earliest Date 1887
Latest Date 1887
Material Paper/Wood
Subjects Travel
Bullfighters
Bullfighting
Fans
Lexicon Sub-category Personal Gear
Catalog Number X99.1852
Support Acknowledgment Online Collections Database record made possible by the Fan Association of North America (FANA), 2011. (www.fanassociation.org)
Legal Status Images and text in this database are copyrighted by the Staten Island Historical Society unless otherwise noted. Items represented here are from the collections of the Staten Island Historical Society. Materials reproduced for personal non-commercial use must credit the Staten Island Historical Society. Commercial licensing is available.